Counting Cinderellas: Numbers and Trends of Child Domestic Servants

Deborah Levison, University of Minnesota
Anna Langer, University of Minnesota

Counting child domestic servants seems a commonplace task. In fact, it is both complex and important. Child domestic servants are among the most vulnerable of child workers, and the most invisible. They may be treated kindly and allowed to attend school, or they may be secluded in their employers’ home, beaten, overworked and unable to leave or report their difficulties to kin. In this paper, we summarize trends in the use of child domestics in a number of Latin American countries using International Public Use Microdata Sample (IPUMS) census samples for five decades. In addition to identifying child domestics based on employment and household status variables, we estimate the numbers of hidden domestics. We also analyze trends in live-in versus live-out status and enrollment and educational attainment of child domestics.

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Presented in Session 185: Household and Individual Behavior in Developing Countries: New Questions and Sources of Data